3000 Miles to Graceland


Kevin Costner as Murphy
Kurt Russell as Michael
Christian Slater as Hanson
Courteney Cox as Cybil
Howie Long as Jack
Jon Lovitz as Peterson
David Arquette as Gus
Thomas Haden Church as Marshall Quigley
Kevin Pollak as Marshall Damitry

3000 Miles to Graceland could use less violence and more Elvis. Costner and Russell deliver entertaining performances.

Just released from prison, Michael joins up with Murphy and some other ex-cons to rob a Las Vegas casino. Their plan is to rob the place during an Elvis Impersonation Contest, and they’ll do it dressed as The King. They are successful in getting the money, but a violent gun battle ensues. The crooks get away and prepare to make their ultimate escape.

However, Murphy double crosses his gang and shoots them all. Fortunately, Michael survives and is able to beat Murphy back to the hidden money. Through various circumstances, Michael ends up with Cybil and her young son tagging along for the ride. They head north where they can have the marked cash laundered. Murphy is soon in hot pursuit leaving a bloody trail behind him and two Federal Marshals on his tail.

Rated R for strong violence, sexuality and language.

What Worked:
If you are a fan of Kurt Russell, Courtney Cox, or Kevin Costner, then you’ll probably enjoy this movie. They all deliver great performances and get plenty of screen time. Russell does his typical good turn as the tough bad guy with a good heart. Costner plays a total psycho who is convinced he’s the illegitimate son of Elvis. This is a total 180 from his role in Thirteen Days. I think I like him better as the villain than the hero.

The film is directed by Demian Lichtenstein, a former music video director, and it really shows. The movie is filled with quick cuts, strange camera angles and movements, and odd imagery that is typical of a music video. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. A good example is the beginning of the film that opens with two CGI robotic scorpions battling it out. For a minute I wondered if I was in the right movie. It looked cool and was symbolic of the fight that would take place in the rest of the film, but it made you kind of scratch your head. But other moments show a great mix of editing like a gunfight that is intermixed with an Elvis impersonation performance. It worked well.

And I love Elvis music, so I enjoyed most of the soundtrack. It was an odd mix of heavy metal and Elvis greatest hits, but there was a little something for everyone there.

What Didn’t Work:
The advertising for this film is rather misleading. It makes you think that the Elvis robbery is the focal point of the film. It’s not. In fact, it takes place in the first 1/5 of the film and that’s all. The advertising also makes you think that Christian Slater, David Arquette, and Ice-T are in the film a lot. They aren’t. They almost have just cameo roles. If you’re going to see this film for Elvis or these actors, you may be disappointed.

I love action movies as much as anybody. My motto is that it’s not a real movie unless there’s an explosion in it. However, this film was pointlessly violent. It seemed the only way they could do action was to have the bad guys / heroes run in slow motion and shoot as many cops or security guards as possible. How many ways can you show a police officer die? It was gratuitous and annoying.

The film was also inconsistent. They show 50 cops have their chests explode in a hail of gunfire, but we take a touching and emotional moment to show a robber slowly bleed to death after being shot. We’re supposed to be sympathetic? Costner’s character spends the entire movie violently murdering innocent people, but the movie tries to make him a misunderstood good guy at the end. Huh? By the end of the movie, Costner is dead, as you would suspect, with a zillion bullet holes in his body. A Marshall stands over the corpse and sadly says, “I really wanted this one alive.” Then why didn’t you shoot him once or twice rather than 500 times? Duh! Then Cox’s character abandons her son and runs off with the loot, but we’re supposed to root for her as our heroine. That’s a tough sell. She also has rather rough sex with a total stranger in front of her sonÂ…..twice. That’s a bit perverted.

It’s kind of funny that Kevin Costner is a big Republican supporter, yet he stars in this film with excessive violence, sex, and profanity. This movie is a perfect example of what the U.S. government is going after. It will be interesting to see how it is received.